The La Verne men’s basketball team put up a fight against Cal Lutheran but was not able to secure the win as they lost, 99-76, Wednesday night at Frantz Athletic Court. This loss has the Leopards stuck in a six-game losing streak.
“It’s kind of been an up and down year for us,” head coach Richard Reed said. “We had two byes in the month of January and since our byes, we’ve just kind of struggled to kind of get back in rhythm.”
The Leopards started the game strong when junior forward Kyler Harvey made a three-pointer in the first 30 seconds, giving the Leopards a jump by scoring the first points of the game.
The Leopards lost their lead not long after and were struggling to catch up for most the half. However, La Verne started out with a strong defense and both teams were going basket for basket.
La Verne senior guard Brian Adams was able to break things open and score 17 points in the game.
“I feel I could have helped my team rebound more and just get my teammates open for better shots,” Adams said. “It was a tough game and Cal Lu played a hell of a game, so it was a dog fight, but they got the best of us.”
Cal Lutheran started to step up their defense and the Leopards gave up more baskets than they could score. The Leopards called a timeout two minutes into the game, after three consecutive baskets scored by Cal Lutheran.
The Leopards were able to make a couple baskets, however Cal Lutheran was making almost double. La Verne was attempting baskets but were unable to secure any rebounds forcing them to fall behind quickly.
The Leopards began to rally at the end of the first half and were able to get the score to 50-43, just falling short of taking the lead.
Following a halftime performance from the La Verne step team, the Leopards came back to the gym with high energy and ready to take on the Kingsmen.
A few baskets were made from the Leopards but not as many as the Kingsmen were able to score.
Halfway through the second half, the Kingsmen led, 75-54, not allowing the Leopards to catch up.
Freshman guard Tyler Matthews was the second highest shooter in this game, scoring 15 points. He was able to produce some three-pointers for the team along with holding off Kingsmen as best as he could.
“Our defense needs to get better and for offense, we just gotta keep moving the ball, finding the right shooters,” Matthews said. “Other than that, you know, our heart wasn’t it.”
The Leopards subbed in a couple new players but were still not able to score as many points as they needed.
La Verne’s conference record is 3-9, taking them out of the running for the playoffs.
“We just gotta end this year on a good note, being that this game was kind of a playoff eliminator for the SCIAC tournament,” junior guard Saafir Moore said. “We can’t lose sight of our mission and our missions and we have to get better every day and in every game.”
The team has four more games left of their season. Next up is a home game against Pomona-Pitzer at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Ashlyn Ledbetter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.